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Maria Konstantaki, Edward Winter and Ian Swaine

Context:

Forward propulsion in freestyle swimming is predominantly achieved through arm action. Few studies have assessed the effects of arm training on arm power and swimming performance, yet there have not been any investigations on the effects of arms-only swimming training on swimming performance and physiological responses to arm exercise.

Purpose:

To investigate the changes in arms-only and full-stroke swimming performance, movement economy and aerobic power after an arms-only swimming training program.

Methods:

Fifteen male county level swimmers were assigned either to an experimental (ES, n = 8) or control group (CS, n = 7). For six weeks ES performed arms-only freestyle swimming exercises for 20% of their weekly training distance three times per week, whereas CS performed their usual swimming training. Before and after the training program, both groups performed a) two time trials, 186 m using arms-only (186ARMS) and 372 m using full-stroke (372FULL) freestyle swimming, and b) an incremental arm-pulling exercise test. The time to complete the trials was recorded. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), peak exercise intensity (EIpeak) submaximal oxygen uptake at 60 W (VO2−60) and exercise intensity at ventilatory threshold (VTW) were determined from the exercise test.

Results:

After training, ES had improved in 186ARMS (−14.2 ± 3.6%, P = .03), VO2−60 (−22.5 ± 2.3%, P = .04), EIpeak (+17.8 ± 4.2%, P = .03), and VTW (+18.9 ± 2.3%, P = .02), but not in VO2peak (P = .09) or in 372FULL (P = .07). None of the measures changed in CS (P > .05).

Conclusion:

Arms-only swimming training at 20% of the weekly training distance is an effective method to improve arm conditioning during the preparatory phase of the annual training cycle.

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Paul Ford, Richard Bailey, Damian Coleman, Daniel Stretch, Edward Winter, Kate Woolf-May and Ian Swaine

There are no previous reports of energy expenditure and perceived effort during brisk-walking and running at speeds self-selected by young children. Fifty four participants (age 8–11 years old) performed 1500 m of brisk-walking and running in a marked school playground, and were given simple instructions to either ‘walk quickly’ or to ‘jog’. During the running the children achieved higher mean speeds and a greater total energy expenditure (p < .001). However, there was no difference in the perceived effort between the two activities (p > .05). These findings suggest that under certain conditions children find it just as easy to run as they do to walk briskly, even though the speed and energy expenditure is significantly higher.

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Paul Ford, Richard Bailey, Damian Coleman, Kate Woolf-May and Ian Swaine

Although differences in daily activity levels have been assessed in cross-sectional walk-to-school studies, no one has assessed differences in body composition and dietary energy intake at the same time. In this study of 239 primary school children, there were no significant differences in daily activity levels, body composition, or estimated dietary energy intake between those who walk to school (WALK) and those who travel by car (CAR; p < .05). WALK children were more active between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. than CAR children (p < .05). In addition, there were no significant differences in the main analysis when participants were subgrouped by gender and age.